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Water 2017, 9(6), 388; doi:10.3390/w9060388

The Rocky Path to Source Water Protection: A Cross-Case Analysis of Drinking Water Crises in Small Communities in Canada

1
Associate Professor & Board of Governors Research Chair Tier II, Department of Native American Studies, Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Lethbridge, University Drive, Lethbridge, AB T1K 6T5, Canada
2
PhD candidate, Cultural, Social and Political Thought Program, Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Lethbridge, University Drive, Lethbridge, AB T1K 6T5, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jay R. Lund
Received: 29 March 2017 / Revised: 19 May 2017 / Accepted: 25 May 2017 / Published: 1 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Source Water Protection: State of the Art and Science)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [597 KB, uploaded 1 June 2017]   |  

Abstract

Source water protection (SWP) is increasingly seen as effective in reducing the incidence and extent of drinking water crises, yet its facilitation requires certain measures. Canada has one of the most decentralized water governance systems in the world. We sought to understand the experience and impacts of drinking water crises at community and government levels in a decentralized context: the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador through cross-case analysis. We selected our three study communities through a database of media reports in 2014 followed by invitations to community leaders. We used descriptive and qualitative methods, specifically structured interview schedules with both closed- and open-ended questions, and interviewed four community leaders and three provincial government officials. We used NVivo in data analysis, especially in the identification of themes. While government officials defined water crises largely in terms of SWP, this was not the same for communities, whose concern was mainly water access, specifically water shortages. Thus, while the prioritizing of SWP can be useful, the current focus on SWP has the potential to overlook aspects of water security, particularly in some rural and Indigenous communities in Canada. If we envision water security as a ladder representing a hierarchy of needs, some communities are too far down on the ladder to operationalize SWP because their water problems are more extreme. View Full-Text
Keywords: source water protection; water policy; water security; water in small communities; Indigenous water security; rural water security; water security in Canada source water protection; water policy; water security; water in small communities; Indigenous water security; rural water security; water security in Canada
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Hanrahan, M.; Jnr, B.D. The Rocky Path to Source Water Protection: A Cross-Case Analysis of Drinking Water Crises in Small Communities in Canada. Water 2017, 9, 388.

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